How to choose the best social platform to reach your customers
By Dominique Sandwith
This post was originally featured in Your Business magazine
Are you running a business and wondering how to find time or knowledge to market your business online? According to a study by LeadPages, 47% of small business owners handle their marketing efforts on their own. So, you're not alone; almost half of small business owners have to juggle running their day-to-day business activities whilst ensuring that they are getting the word out about their brand.
Whether you are a retailer, own a dental practice, a tour operator or restauranteur – the options are endless when it comes to digital marketing platforms and how to use them. In order to figure out which ones to use and how often, you need to understand more about them.
Social platforms explained
■ FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS has the biggest audience on the internet and is where most brands compete for customers’ attention.
■ TWITTER provides a short, succinct way to market to potential customers by sharing news and facts in two sentences or less.
■ INSTAGRAM & STORIES provides a visual way to represent your business and connect with consumers.
■ IGTV is a new kid on the block, with user-generated television for your phone using videos that are up to an hour long.
■ PINTEREST is ideal for a visual representation of your business (most popular with product offerings) or scrapbook style collection of thoughts.
■ LINKEDIN provides a way to connect with other businesses and potential employees.
■ YOUTUBE is the go-to place to keep your video content library.
■ MAILCHIMP is not so much a social network, but a useful tool for email marketing, which is key to a holistic content marketing strategy .
Pick your poison
Equipped with this knowledge, you now need to assess your business and see where your potential content would fit. Think about the type of content you will be able to create easily, and the resources that you have at your disposal. Remember that it needs to add value to your customers. If it seems like a stretch, it’s probably not wise to start down that road.
As an example, if you’re the owner of a dental practice you could realistically use Facebook (for case studies and success stories), Instagram (to show off your clients’ exquisite teeth), LinkedIn (to attract talented new dentists to your practise) and Mailchimp (to market the latest techniques and specials to your database). However, if you’re a ‘one-man-band’ as mentioned earlier, you probably don’t have time for all of that anyway.
Our advice is to stick to two social networks and do them well. According to a recent study by CoSchedule, the most effective strategy is to post once per day on networks such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and up to 15 times a day to Twitter. And as you know, creating and scheduling content takes time and effort. Therefore, it’s better to stick to the ‘less is more’ theory. Choose two that you can handle, and post higher quality content less often, but be consistent.
Plan ahead for simplicity's sake
With so many scheduling tools at your disposal, there really is no excuse not to post regular content across the platforms that you have chosen. Apps like Hootsuite, Planoly, Tailwind and Facebook for Business have made it easy for small business owners to spend one portion of time per week or month to plan ahead and schedule content all in one go.
That being said, this would mean that all of the content is created and ready to schedule at one time. Our advice would be to keep it simple. Repurpose content into various forms, linking back to the same section of your website, blog post or video. Ask yourself what your customers genuinely want to see or how you can add value to their lives. Have a conversation with them and make sure you don’t bombard them with sales posts that make them think you only care about making money.
"Our advice is to stick to two social networks and do them well. Stick to the ‘less is more’ theory. Post higher quality content less often, but be consistent."
Once your content is scheduled, you only need to focus on monitoring the platforms and answering any queries or leads that come your way. This is another reason why you don’t want to spread yourself too thin.
It’s also important to value your time and skill. If creating content and interacting with your customers online is not something you’re comfortable doing and it’s going to take you away from building up your business, invest in a good digital marketing team to ensure you have your bases covered. The cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind that your marketing is being done while you can focus on what you do best, whatever that is.